For the 3rd week of the Dark Days Challenge I decided to not use polenta, pasta, or a wheat base for dinner. I figure those will be my backups and get used plenty over the next few months. I had a few red potatoes I got at the Raleigh market a little while ago. Like most of my potatoes, they were starting to sprout and needed some immediate attention. In keeping with the challenge I peeled those little suckers instead of using larger, non-local, baking potatoes.
What I found odd about the Raleigh market is that many of the farmers are growing hot house tomatoes, peppers, and I’m even seeing fresh berries. So the peas and the bell pepper are local, where the rest is not. I wish they had onions and garlic! Next year I will put up onions all summer to be prepared for winter cooking.
Slow Cooker Purple Hull Peas
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bell pepper (any color), chopped small
- 1 quart fresh purple hull peas (frozen works too)
- 1 to 2 cups water or vegetable broth (enough to cover the beans and veggies)
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Tabasco or other hot sauce, for serving
The night before:
- Heat the oil over medium heat then add the onion and saute until translucent.
- Add garlic and cook for a minute more, then add the bell pepper and cook until it softens.
- Store everything together in the fridge. If your peas are frozen defrost them in the fridge overnight.
In the morning:
- Place all the ingredients into an oiled slow cooker and cook on low 6 to 8 hours.
- Add extra water if your slow cooker is less than ½ full (see note above).
- Add salt and pepper before serving.
- Also add more Cajun seasoning if needed.
- Serve over rice, cornbread, or mashed potatoes with a side of hot sauce to give it some old-time flavor.
Slow Cooker Dark Days Purple Hull Peas can be comfortably made in a 2 quart slow cooker, but would probably be too much in a 1 to 1½ quart slow cooker. If you use a 4 quart you may need to add 3 cups of water instead of the 1 to 2 cups called for in the recipe. This would be the case with a 6 quart as well, or if your slow cooker is less than ½ full.
Slow cooker temperature runs hotter when it is less than ½ full on all slow cooker and some do the same if they are not ¾ full. Read your slow cooker manual to see what yours recommends. When in doubt throw in an extra cup of water. If the peas are too watery when you get home, turn the temp to high and prop open the lid with a wooden spoon.
- Clean the collards, remove the large stem that runs through the middle, and chop the leafy part that's left. (Hint: when greens are small you can usually skip this step.)
- Heat olive oil in a larger saute pan.
- Add the collards little by little until you can fit them all in the pan. If you have a really large pan add them all at the same time.
- Add water as and if needed. This just helps them steam a bit if they are thick. It also keeps them from burning. How long you cook them will depend on if you like your greens bright green or cooked to death like mama used to make them.
- As soon as they are the way you like them take them off the heat and add the salt, flavored oil and vinegar.
- Start out with 1 tablespoon of each and add more until the flavors are strong, but not so strong that you don't know what you are eating.
The collards were local and are becoming a tasty winter staple. The olive oil and balsamic I used to flavor them with are not local. But they did come from a store in Chapel Hill that specializes in flavored oils and vinegars, Blue Sky. At least I was supporting a local merchant and the flavor was absolutely amazing and got the house greens hater to eat her collards!